INSPIRED BY KIWI INNOVATION
The marine environment is tough on products especially those that integrate technology. New marine products need to exceed internationally agreed marine standards and for a company to produce a new marine product every 20 days is something few businesses in the world can do. Welcome to the world of Navico.
Navico is a global leader in marine electronics, an innovative force within the recreational and commercial marine market. Product development is at the heart of Navico’s business model and culture and this is coupled with an unprecedented product launch schedule that enables them to deliver pioneering products across a broad range of boating activities.
Navico has steadily outperformed its competitors and grown its market share since 2009. Navico’s vision is always front and centre; ‘To be first in the marine sector to integrate fast moving technology to create a seamless user experience at an unprecedented level of quality and reliability’.
The company develops and manufactures marine electronics and digital services under the brand Lowrance, Simrad, B&G and C-MAP. Products include advanced sonar and echo sounding, navigation solutions, mapping and chart plotters, multifunctional displays, radar, gyrocompasses and VHF radios.
With headquarters in Norway, Navico’s management team includes Olympic sailors and former Volvo Ocean Racing executives. However the majority of Navico Groups design, development and testing is carried out in New Zealand in a purpose built facility within the Grow North Innovation District.
Navico has a rich history of investment in R&D with the majority of Navico’s revenues coming from products launched during the past 24 months and In the last two years, Navico has developed the international award-winning HALOTM Pulse Compression Radar technology, 3D sonar technology for fish finding and chart plotters used by boaters worldwide.
Recent new innovation includes HALO24, a new compact 24 inch Dome Radar with industry first 60 RPM which gives the ultimate in collision avoidance at close range, without sacrificing long range. They also have set a new standard in boating with the new Simrad Information Display, a seamless, full-dash solution, sleek design with a look and feel as unique as the vessel itself.
Navico’s recent merger with C-MAP a leading supplier of digital navigation products will accelerate the companies’ shared ambition to create the world’s biggest digital marine ecosystem. “This merger is an incredible opportunity to drive innovation in the marine industry and lead a new digital era,” said Leif Ottosson, CEO, Navico Group. www.navico.com
Manufacturing precision parts for the extreme conditions of outer space and Formula 1 is an complicated and expensive process. The certification needed is tough to pass and costs mount when only a small number of parts are required.
3D printing has long promised to deliver the ideal solution but while 3D printed plastic and aluminium parts are commonplace, parts printed in the materials needed for extremes of high performance, long life and reliability requires the latest technology and knowledge, that is as yet, still hard to find anywhere in the world.
Zenith Tecnica is one of just a handful of organisations around the world that specialises in manufacturing titanium parts for the aerospace and medical industries and for F1 racecars and America’s Cup yachts. Electron Beam Melting (EBM) printers fuse metal powder using a high-energy, high-temperature electron beam have been installed at their facilityin the Grow North Innovation District. The company is capable of mass production, short runs, or a single customised part for an individual human, as they do for a US-based manufacturer of knee and hip implants.
“That’s where this technology is great, because you can do pretty much whatever you want,” says Zenith Tecnica’s business development manager Bruno Le Razer. “The challenge is to reach production level, and to do that you not only need a machine, you need facilities and a great team and all the quality systems to achieve the necessary certifications. The quick turnaround makes 3D printing so useful for prototyping and testing, as we do for the America’s Cup syndicates.We are part of a very small club in the world.”
Air New Zealand recently formed a partnership with Zenith Tecnica to investigate ways to use the company’s 3D-printed components in its aircraft and ground-based operations. Wayne Thomas, 3D printing and advanced manufacturing project manager for the airline, says Zenith’s story, while not well known at home, is impressive. “They have a very strong reputation internationally in titanium, and a lot of customers in critical, high- performance industries such as medical and space. It’s an incredible capability, really, and it’s right here on our doorstep.”
Zenith Tecnica a preferred option for anyone looking at mass customisation of components for small to large aerospace structures. zenithtecnica.com
ZENITH TECNICA CERTIFICATION
AS9100:RevD certified and has produced many flight-certified components for satellites that are currently in orbit.
ISO9001:2015 certified and has produced many components for high-performance vehicles such as Formula 1 cars and produced many components on high-performance marine vessels such as Grand Prix F1 powerboats and America’s Cup yachts
ISO13485:2016 certified for the manufacture of human implants and have produced many implants in use today.
We’re in an age where brands can’t escape the close scrutiny of customers and consumer watchdogs. One bad product experience can degrade a brand’s reputation.
This is impacting the way products are designed and marketed, with greater attention paid to the customer experience and the physiology of buyers and users and how they react to products - all to be considered before starting the product development process.
With fast one-off product prototypying widely available, more manufacturers are valuing the product designers experience, especially their insights on assessing product-market fit, research and manufacturing knowledge. Creating new products is complicated: Insight-driven designers increase the level of innovation while lowering risk, making new product development a far more rewarding process for individual manufacturers.
The wave of new connected digital and IOT products presents new challenges for manufacturers, which is in turn changing the way that product development projects are run. There is also a heightenedawareness about the impact that products have on the environment and society, and that awareness continues throughout the product development and manufacturing process.Industrial design firm Blender works with companies to help them tackle these new challenges, and reframeing their thinking about the problems that they believe they are solving.
Blender has invested in their own methodologies to help clients think more insightfully and holistically as they explore new types of products and user experiences. With a strong design-for-manufacture ability Blender specialises in the development of electronic products, working closely with electronics engineers and multi disciplinary teams.
“We are seeing fantastic results from our approach, after all the first and most important step towards creating a commercially successful product is defining the right thing to make!” says CEO Ollie McDermott. “We're always focused on the problems that products solve, who the key stakeholders are and what the goals are for our clients. We’ve developed a successful formula and turned this into a service – we believe the first of it’s kind. It works, and it’s something our team is really proud of.”
Blender has won numerous international and NZ design awards for the products they have developed. One example is an R&D grant for a project developing a new shock mitigating boat seat ‘Jolt Rider’ (Below) which recently won a Bronze at the Best Awards. For further information www.blender.nz
Owners of small and medium sized businesses go on steep learning curves. These take more time than anticipated and SME owners are frequently diverted away from vital business-growth activities.
Software that assists leaders to make good decisions exist but most have been developed to satisfy large organisations’ needs. These are expensive and based on legacy practices so don’t provide the same transformational benefits that front-edge technology can now deliver to SME owners.
For most of us GPS means that we never have to interrupt our journey to ask someone for directions. Similarly CEOs focused on seizing an opportunity can’t afford to continually ‘pull over’ to search for the information needed for smart business decisions. CEO’s now can have critical business information pushed to them while they are on the move.
AI is able to gather data about individual businesses, constantly learning in order to answer complex questions. Aider’sAI actively assesses your data, offers real-time insights and suggests options, providing a large shift in the way that owners go about building businesses.
Aider is the SME owner’s own ‘know it all rockstar’ business assistant that shows off when needed.
Aider provides enterprise-level responses at an affordable price pushing real-time business data directly to devices using everyday conversation or text. Aider is unique in how it looks at business data, noting relationships and trends in order to give owners holistic insights about their business – necessary if they are to thrive in our rapidly changing world.
Taking only a few minutes to install, Aider is a mobile tool that comes loaded with built-in apps covering local weather, news and events. From there Aider provides best-business knowhow and immediately plugs into the business accounting, point of sale, payroll and rostering platform.
While data is stored within security levels, Aider instantly answers owners questions - for example; ‘what’s today’s top-selling product?’, ‘who’s rostered on today?’ or ‘what is my web traffic for the month?’.
During the next five years some SME businesses will outperform their competitors. Owners that embrace AI will make better, faster decisions, have more time to work ON their business and more focus on creating innovative products and services.
With their attention initially on Australia and NZ, Aider is intent on transforming the way business owners grow businesses around the world. https://www.aider.ai/
Below: Aider co-founders, (Left) Pete Weaver and Brendan Roberts, CEO. (Right) The Aider team.
Grow North articles are written by CEOs that call the Grow North Innovation District home and Kel Marsh.
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